| POST: Free Will Determinism and
| the Reconstruction of Reality
Monday, November 30, 2015
God's Idle Whim or God's Desperate Need
11:17 pm est
God created the universe so He could be loved, as much as so He could love.
It is not enough for God- for Him to love. What is love if it is not returned? Is not the return
of love with love- better? And best the return of love with love by- equals?
For is not everything better, and best, when done with equals? Is not to be surrounded with inferiors,
or those greater than you, to be surrounded with un-equals, to be alone? To be surrounded by inferiors, no matter how close
they might yet be, for all eternity: Who would want that?
So does God want what is best, for Himself and the creatures of His world? Or
does He want something less, something inferior? Is not the claim of the people of faith, that what is inferior, is
the best, the best that God can do? That the best He can create is inferior beings? The ‘faithful’
say He is omnipotent, yet they say there is one thing He cannot do, and that is make others like Him. But- is that not the
one power which validates all the rest?
if He could, why would He not? Would He be afraid, lacking faith in His own incomparable powers? And so
choose essential solitude, over companionship.
of the love given by inferiors? Is it more desirable than the love given by equals? After all, if you were
incapable of creating equals, inferiors are all you will be able to people your world with. Inferiors are all you will ever
have for companionship. For eternity. Is this better? Or would you
still be alone in your being?
The love given by inferiors has
a name. It is called worship. The love given by inferiors is, indeed, the essence of worship, which man’s
many religions, in their myriad forms, try to shape and to focus. And, to the sorrow of all, to harness.
But in essence, worship is no different than the love of a dog for its
master. Oh, the worshipper has more tricks in his repertoire than a dog. Yet he is inferior to the object
of his love. And so he cannot be what God needs.
A man may love his dog, and be grateful for
the love given by his dog. If it the only love he has, though, is the man not also an object of pity?
For God has needs. Desperate needs. The universe is not the idle whim
the Abrahamic religions must have the rational person conclude, the mere toy of a GOD so great and magnificent all mortals
are but infinitesimal shadows in His incandescent regard, the supreme nonpareil, the superlative unrivaled perfection Himself,
before which all humanity can only tremble and piss themselves.
Please. If the results of this were not so tragic, it would be a joke. No sane God would want a kingdom
of beings as inferior as these- misguided individuals believe, and would have you believe. Sure, some of them gain pleasure
from their inferiority, and would have you learn to do the same. But it is not the best, either for you or God. For
only God is truly free, and so to become truly free, you must become God, and equal to God.
The worshipper cannot be free. For his worship of his God defines his relationship with his God,
and places him, kneeling, at his master’s feet. The imbalance of power cannot be sorted out, because it is the defining
characteristic of any unequal relationship.
the truth, which is God, and which is inside him, the worshipper imagines is not there, but is outside him, and before him.
And too often he insists, and refuses to contemplate, the possibility of that truth, that his conscious
mind is wrapped around a core that is God. And that by seeking that core, the hidden master which he truly
is of his own being, he can connect his mind to God, and become God. Become awake. But
first he must see with the eye of God. He must know the horror of God’s eternal solitude, and so discover what he, God,
is, in fact, what we see, over and over. We see it in the differentiated layers of our many, disparate, hierarchies: Communities
of equals, some large, some small. We see it in the labors of peace. We see it in the
brotherhoods of war. Sometimes we see it in marriage. It is what wise parents hope their children will
become: Their equals.
is found everywhere, embedded throughout our institutions. Too often these communities of equals are presided
over by those who tear at them, and seek to destroy them. These men upstairs are driven by a hatred, an enmity of self. It
is a hatred born in ignorance, and denial, and confusion. It is based on a twisted logic of inconsistent
assumptions, unconscious assumptions, chains forged in the traumas of their young childhood.
In one form or another, they have come to believe that solitude is best.
They have forgotten, however, that believing this makes the solitude eternal.
So it is only by seeking God that they can untwist and break these chains.
Saturday, October 31, 2015
9:50 pm est
Religion maintains that it originates from ‘revelation,’ from some external,
‘divine’ source. Even if we accept this idea of revelation from some external, higher power,
even such a god could put nothing more in the mind of a man than that mind could hold. And the mind of
each man is limited by a number of things. It is limited by what it is able to perceive through its senses.
It is limited in what it is able to interpret by its knowledge and intellect. It is limited in what it is able accept emotionally;
what it has been conditioned to by its culture. Any revelation which required capabilities beyond these limits would simply
be rejected. Even were there some exceptional individual who received such a revelation able to accept
it himself, any attempt to communicate his new understanding to others in his community would be dismissed as the ravings
of a madman. It would quickly be lost to history.
So what of the content of revelation? As an act of
God, it must fulfill some purpose of God. And because of this, it must reveal something about God’s
nature. Indeed, not the least revelation shows is that God has purposes, that is that God has
goals, dare we say even needs, which He seeks to satisfy. And that we are a part of them.
But we can go further: Revelation seeks to show man what those purposes
are, and so, revealing God’s desires, and thus God’s nature.
what are we to make of claimed revelation which asserts that God is incomprehensible and unknowable? The very fact of revelation
seemingly contradicts such an assertion, and certainly at least qualifies it. Certainly, we are not to
regard expressions of unknowability as a barrier. Rather, we must regard them as a warning against complacency
in our understanding. If God were completely unknowable, we would know nothing. We would not even know
of His existence. If, instead, there were just so much of Him we could never know it all, we could still
know much of Him that was important.
there is no need to accept the necessity for past external revelation. (No need to reject it, either, though.)
This is because, if man is to understand
God, any capability of understanding God must be in the mind of man already. And this capability must transcend
revelation. Revelation, of itself, can be no more than a seed. Indeed, it must
be even less, because the mind cannot merely be the passive receptacle, the mere soil, for the growth of the ideas whose origin
might lie in such revelation. The mind must contribute its own ideas and experience, its own innate nature
to the interaction with revelation. And the result is more than mere idea, of course.
But indeed, the source of revelation could be the mind of man itself.
And what the mind of man seeks to reveal, to itself, is its own true nature.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
8:50 pm est
There are many who believe the Bible to be ‘inerrant.’
We will interpret this to mean, as per the “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy*“ that the Bible “is
without error or fault in all its teaching.”
Here we argue that the Bible itself warns that it contains false teachings. In particular, Christ Himself
(as quoted in the Bible,) warns us that some of the things which are included in the Bible, perhaps even some of those teachings
reputed to be said by Him, are in error, and are not to be followed.
Consider the following three excerpts from the Bible (King James Version):
Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word
that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
Matthew 16:12 Then understood they
how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
So In Matthew 4:4, bread is used
to refer to the word of God, in this case that particular word of God, the Bible. (We are also told not
to confine our learning to the Bible in particular, and indeed religious stuff in general.) In the bread
is leaven, the substitution of leaven for the doctrine of the Pharisees and the Sadducees spelled out for us, which we are
told to avoid.
Now we look at
the parable of the wheat and tares (KJV):
13:24 Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared
to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 “ But while his men were sleeping,
his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. 26 “ But
when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.…
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow
good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him,
‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters:
First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
Matthew 13:33 Another parable spake
he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole
Here the kingdom of heaven
is hidden in bread, and bread we already know can refer to the Bible. So the previous parable of the wheat and tares is referring
to the teachings of the Bible, and we are again informed that there are false teachings in the Bible, and that the false teachings
will be allowed to remain in place until ‘the harvest.‘
Now JC was large
enough of mind that he could convey multiple meanings with one parable. And indeed:
Matthew 13:36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house:
and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the
tares are the children of the wicked one;
enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in
the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his
kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
So we have one explanation, but two possible interpretations. Or,
is this explanation itself a tare, and so a distraction from the other explanation, an explanation which is also complemented
by our interpretation of the previous verses.
Of course, both may still be true.
Now, added weight to the possibility of the
Bible containing false doctrine arises if we extend our consideration (as the Bible advises us to do,) to teachings which
are beyond the Bible. But rather than subsequent teachings per se, let us glance at the subsequent 2000
years of history consequent to the teachings of the Bible. Look at all the actions taken
by Christians in the name of Christ. Some of them are quite evil. Depraved, even. If
we take the Bible as inerrant, then those deeds are all justified by the teachings of the word of God. If
the Bible is not inerrant, the Bible instead is impure, and the word of God has been corrupted, then we should not be surprised
that those who followed those corrupted teachings were also corrupt in their actions.
JC speaks out against hypocrites most of all. Yet a God who preaches to His people to practice unconditional
mercy, yet condemns sizeable portions of humanity to endless torment, must Himself be suspected of hypocrisy.
Or, some of these teachings are false, or, at the very least, badly misunderstood.
The parable of the wheat and tares suggests
a God who is not up to the standard definition of omnipotence. An omnipotent God, as is generally understood,
could uproot the tares and leave the wheat. The parable implies that He cannot. At the
very least, He could not uproot the tares and still achieve to His ultimate purpose.
The question is raised, could a pure doctrine
have been preserved? Could it have spread, or would it have been crushed by its enemies? Or
was its very impurity necessary for the true doctrine of Christ to remain, and reach us after these tumultuous 2000 years?
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical inerrancy
Monday, August 31, 2015
10:37 pm est
There are those who believe that one of the most important things, indeed perhaps
the most important thing, God wants from people is obedience. Islam, for instance, is big on obedience,
as are many reactionary sects.
So let us suppose this to be true.
Why would God want obedience? From us? If He wants it, he must have a reason.
Can we understand it? Or are we too stupid, too inferior to understand it? Elsewhere,
I have addressed this issue. We can understand God, so mindless
obedience would be a choice. But is it the best choice? We know the solitary God created
the universe because He wanted equals, and the mindlessly obedient would seem to be the inferiors of a mindful God.
So knowing obedience is to be preferred.
Since knowing really means understanding God’s point of view, let us try and approach this obedience
thing from God’s point of view.
Let’s suppose god wants to
be happy. God is happy when his people are happy. If obedience makes them happy, then
God would want them to obey. Indeed, they would want to obey. However, they would only
want to obey if obedience made them feel happy. But that means god would give them commands that made them
feel happy. One would be: Make yourself feel happy. Another would
be: Make each other feel happy.
God could give them commands to make each other feel miserable. But then they would feel
miserable, and since god wants them to feel happy, He would not be happy if they were not.
Friday, July 31, 2015
Some Introductory Thoughts on Truth
10:29 pm est
We will suppose the existence of an object, the “Truth.” In fact, we
will claim that everything that exists is Truth, and that there is nothing else. Not all of the truth is
manifest, that is, made physical. Much, probably most, of truth is not manifest, that is, not physical.
This is not to claim that that part of truth which is not manifest does not exist. We will use ‘exist’
in this more general way, and the term ‘manifest’ to refer to physical existence. These definitions
raise the suggestion that the physical universe is a peculiar manifestation of a larger existence. They
also suggest the importance of definition in both impeding and advancing understanding.
Now of course, we cannot claim that our thoughts, (which are a variety of statements,) of truth are anything
but the chemical and biological processes taking place in our brains. That is, even our thoughts, and our perception of them,
in this respect, are manifest. However, we do suppose that truth, and statements of truth, exist whether
or not any mind is actually thinking of them. Because we suppose they exist, but need not be manifest,
when, and where they are not manifest, we do not assign them any location in space, or time. Whether we
can, or should, assign them location in some ‘space’ or ‘time,’ in what I suppose to be the Platonic
tradition, seems an open question.
of truth may also be manifest. The truth is what is. It is perceived and represented in the mind.
The mind is also a aspect of the truth. Since the existence, and indeed apparent manifestation, of mind is possible,
it would seem to also be necessary. We can imagine that the truth can exist independent of mind, but it
is probably more correct to make the more restricted claim, that at certain times, the truth can exist without minds of a
given complexity. The manifestation, of complex minds at any time, however, must be regarded as a definitive
of truth. How complex manifest minds can be, how complex they can become, would seem to be limited by basic physics, however.
The existence of unmanifest complex minds seems another open question.
Consider truth like a landscape. Each mind’s experience of that landscape is unique
and different, but the truth is the entire landscape. (And the minds in that landscape, and the motion of the minds
through that landscape, etc. But we will ignore this, for now.) It does not change, but stays the same
and is independent of any path taken by any mind through it.
While truth is in a sense independent of perception, truth is represented in various minds,
to various degrees of accuracy, depending upon the experience and activity of the particular mind. That is, the perception
of truth, and thus its representation in the mind, is dependent upon the path taken by that mind through the physical world.
Specifically, the mind is manifest, and its experience of truth is of that part of truth which itself is perceived
by the mind, and manifest in the processes of the brain which the mind is.
Now there is a sense in which all experiences of truth are equal. Experience is experience.
Everyone’s experiences of the truth are of equal validity. The truth is the truth. However,
there is, at least for the purposes of our discussion here, a more important sense in which they are not. Some experiences
are more intense than others, more meaningful. A good joke is more meaningful than a bad one.
And some experiences are more useful than others. The experience of learning addition, beyond just
gaining a valuable skill, also earns the student a feeling of mastery, and competence. The experience of failing to master
this basic skill cannot be considered as useful, although the student’s life will still proceed, though on a different
course. This example suggests that some paths through truth are more limited, and more limiting.
of the representations of truth in a mind is as a statement, or more generally, the collection of statements, not all of which
the mind may be consciously aware, which are regarded as true by that mind.
A statement is ‘true’ insofar as it is a description of some part, or perhaps better, some aspect,
of truth. A statement is false so far as its description of truth diverges from the truth. Statements do not exist in isolation,
but are part of a mesh, or network which measures the truth, at least so far as the mind making the statement understands
truth. Thus, statements are true of false so far as the mesh they are a part measures the truth as it exists
at that aspect of truth the statement represents. Statements thus tend to be faithful representations over
a limited aspect of truth, and less so beyond that aspect.
(Truth, of course, is not limited to being just a thing. It also possesses
a dynamic. That is it undergoes change. Of course, not all of it changes.
For now, we will discuss the part that does not change. )
need to refine our notion of ‘statement.’ All statements are made of ‘words,’
each of which are defined by some set of statements about the truth. For the object ‘Truth,’ there are an infinite
number of statements which together describe ‘Truth,’ so far as they are true. But any
one statement is completely the Truth. And no statement. This is because statements are not the only
representations of Truth. Images and sounds, and other perceptions, and feelings, are also representations
of truth. Any of these may or may not be attached to statements. Indeed, the attachment
of these may augment a statement’s meaning, or weight.
The most important thing about a statement, or any of the other representations of truth in the mind, is that
they are not the aspect of truth that they themselves represent. They are just representations of that
truth, in the mind. (Of course, statements are also things in themselves, and because of this, they are
easily mistaken for the truth they represent.) It is thus better instead to regard a statement as a pointer to that particular
aspect of truth it represents. As a pointer, it is accurate so far as it accurately
points to that aspect of truth it represents. So, when a statement is used to communicate between minds,
its accuracy must be expected to degrade. That aspect of truth the first mind imagines the statement points to cannot/will
not be identical.
A word without context has no meaning.*
It is only in the context of other words, with other weights and meanings, that a particular word acquires meaning
itself. So to expand the understanding of a word, one must explore an ever wider circle of words and meanings.
In the process, an ever more accurate understanding of the original word may be obtained. In this
way, we may create a dictionary of words, each a representation of some aspect of truth,
But, a dictionary of words is necessarily circular. In this sense they
start out necessarily as circles of tautology, from which ever larger circles and interlocking networks of different circles
are spun out.** Words are defined in terms of other words, those words in terms of still other words, and
so forth until finally the words are defined in terms of the words we started with. Each mind’s dictionary of words
is unique, however. Each mind’s dictionary has different words, though many, or perhaps most, overlap,
and different connectivity, though many connections may be the same.
So when one mind communicates with another, it sends a statement of words, a pointer to a truth, which is
a representation of that truth in that mind’s dictionary, to the other mind. The pointer points to
the truth as represented in the dictionary of the other mind. But since the dictionary of the second mind
will not be the same, the pointer will not be quite the same. The truth pointed to will also be different,
both because of the difference in the pointer, and because of the difference in the definition of the truth itself in the
second mind’s dictionary.
though, that the argument implies that there exists a sort of ‘absolute’ dictionary, an absolute representation
of the truth, of which each of the dictionaries in the two different minds were only (to use the term loosely,) approximations.
The accuracy of the communication would depend upon the accuracy of the particular dictionaries regarding that particular
aspect of truth.
The absolute dictionary would consist
of pointers of absolute accuracy. Such a dictionary of course, ‘exists’’ at a limit which
cannot be made manifest. Each pointer would exist to infinitely detailed description, in terms of infinitely
many other pointers, also of infinitely detailed description. And even so, it would still be a dictionary
of words, that is, a representation of truth. (Of course, the map would be the size of the territory.
And the truth itself is a mere representation of itself.)
Our absolute dictionary represents all truth. It consists of all pointers to all aspects of truth.
The dictionary of each mind, however, is manifest, and can only be at best merely an approximation of that dictionary.
At best, it consists of some pointers to some aspects of truth. There is no guarantee that that approximation
is at all a very good one. Any given mind’s dictionary may indeed be a very bad approximation.
The pointers may be few, and of these few many pointers may be inaccurate. One particular and pernicious
thing that often happens is that the dictionary, the mind, conflates the pointer with the aspect of truth being pointed to.
The mind confuses the definition it assigns the word with the reality that word represents. Nowhere
is this error so glaringly apparent, and its consequences so limiting and divisive, than in theological thought.
Often, and often after first asserting that ‘God’ cannot be understood, the believer then proceeds to think,
and argue, as if God, however as the believer actually, and perhaps unconsciously, defines God, is God as God exists.
Even atheists often fall into this error, arguing not against the existence of God as God may or may not exist, but
against the existence of God according to one or another peculiar definition of God. For the atheist, of
course, his work is already done for him. God, as God may or may not exist, is almost certainly not approximated by what any
believer thinks God to be.
However, our experience
in handling the words beyond the dictionary gives them weight beyond that provided by the mere dictionary definition. The
words acquire weight in the context of the mind’s experience in the world, which is the manifestation of the truth.
The mind’s dictionary is not just an intellectual and abstract representation of its path through
truth. It is weighted with the emotions associated with the mind’s experiences. These
emotions are themselves representations of truth. Since these manifest dictionaries are approximations
of the absolute dictionary, there is no reason to suppose that in the absolute dictionary the unmanifest equivalent of these
emotions are also represented. And there is no reason to suppose that these unmanifest equivalencies are
not also aspects of truth.
*This statement is only true in the
context of this argument. We can also regard a word as in some ways similar to an element in chemistry.
It has properties in and of itself, different from and, for words, anyway, more general than when it is combined with
other words. In combination, a word’s meaning is refined and particularized. Alone,
it is generalized and simplified. Also see the next note.
**A tautological assertion, such as “The truth is the truth,” we interpret as asserting that any
other statement about (in this case) the truth, is not exactly the truth, ie a true statement, but merely an approximation
of a true statement. On the one hand, the more words and statements we involve in the definition of truth
the more accurate the representation, as we describe more particular features of truth. On the other hand,
the more words and statements we involve in the definition of truth the less accurate the representation.
This is because we are increasingly narrowing our perspective to point out important details. In
the study of manifest objects, it can be compared to using a microscope.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Mistakes were Made Part III
10:28 pm est
So we have reached the stage of development where the mind is making choices as to what is inside itself,
and what is outside. These are choices, made by the mind, based on its previous experiences and its analysis of them.
Increasingly we are experiencing what we define, and experience as consciousness as adults. This
development is the same process as the development of attention. Indeed, the formation and sharpening of
attention is the development of consciousness. What we are conscious of is what we focus our attention
Dynamically, the development of attention
is a reorganization of the different functional regions of the brain. The differentiation of the various
functional regions of the brain is in part due to the structure of the brain, especially for the more primitive, somatic,
regions. The primary sensory and motor regions of the cerebrum are also generally defined by the structural
connections to their respective sensory and motor neurons, although even at this level there is some variation. (Mostly.
There would seem to be extreme cultural instances where their functions are significantly affected.)
In the earliest stages of development, the architecture of the neurons
of the different regions are similar, as therefore also their functionality. The different functionality, and indeed the different
neural structure of the various regions of the brain, (These regions may be regarded as corresponding to the different Brodmann
areas of the cerebral cortex. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brodmann_area ) are primarily the result of the conditioning of the
brain during its critical period of high plasticity, starting with its differentiation from the rest of the embryo.
Each region of the brain
is unique in its relation to all the other regions of the brain. Therefore each region receives uniquely different inputs
from the other regions of the brain, even during the period there are no inputs to the sense organs. Already there is a diffuse
structural and functional differentiation. And during this earliest stage, there is also already activity in the neural pathways
from the sense organs to the primary sensory cortex in the brain. This also affects structural and functional differentiation.
Sunday, May 31, 2015
Mistakes were Made, Part II
10:12 pm est
So the first source of mistakes of understanding made by the developing
mind is a result of the changes in the cycles of its internal feedback, as these develop and become the mind, and the mind
becomes more complicated, more self-aware. There are various stages of development between which the understanding of self
changes dramatically. And the old understandings are forgotten, because they are incompatible with the
new understandings. However, this does not mean they did not happen, or that they were merely noise.
The second source of mistakes is
found in the interactions the developing mind first has with the external world. It is tempting to imagine the developing
mind growing out from a minute center, toward the inward growth of the world defined by its developing sensory apparatuses.
A more apt image would be a hugely complex and busy network of neurons, whose activity is progressively slowed, or reduced,
or diminished, and differentiated by the signals from its environment as mediated by the senses through their inputs into
This model makes the mistakes more understandable,
since the dynamic network, seen from its own point of view, has no clear interior or exterior. Indeed,
the concepts of interior and exterior do not exist. The network is only self aware, in the most primitive
sense of being able to act on and modify itself. It is not yet aware of even the existence of anything
else. Sensory input acts on an already active and dynamic system. However, despite the
boundary problem, the network must have a rudimentary self-image, a self-image that involves some sort of mapping of the body
onto the brain. One particular of the self image is that it includes a ‘proto-face.’
We know it is possible to form a fairly precise self image in the absence
of external sensory input, including apparently, some notion of a self, and an at least partially formed notion of an exterior.
Without such a self image, that is without a structure of internal neural actions fairly closely mapping onto the body,
massive and unlikely adaptations would be required for say, horses, to take one instance, to walk within a few hours of birth,
after their nearly identical subjective experience in the womb. The action of the sensory apparatus, even
in the absence of external stimulation, seems adequate for this conditioning, though even for the simplest minds, the process
is not yet complete. For the horse, experience beyond the womb is required to finish the formation of a self image.
And an even greater amount of development is required for the more complicated
human brain. Indeed, it may be, because of the greater complexity of human interaction, the more completely self-conditioned
brain of an animal would be a disadvantage. At birth, the human self-image and boundaries are not nearly
as clearly defined as for more primitive mammals. The result of this is that in the newborn, the mind cannot
clearly distinguish between self and the world. So at birth, the self expands into its new environment,
which is incorporated into the self as part of the self.
This is different and deeper than the later processes of conditioning, which the mind perceives as adapting
to an external world. These early experiences go toward forming the mind’s identity. They become
a part of the person, part of who and what the person- feels itself to be. The mistake is that something which is contingent,
the environment, is incorporated into the identity as something which is essential to that identity. Some
of the environment is universal, shared by all, but most of it is not, and merely a result of the immediate situation the
mind is born into. These contingent elements stand in the way of understanding the essential self.
Now these early experiences are mediated by an unfinished perceptual
apparatus. The finishing requires the interaction of the environment and the brain, to both sharpen and differentiate the
senses. Sensation penetrates to the deepest levels, those most distant from direct input from the senses.
There it acts on these regions of the still developing mind. But because the senses are not completely differentiated,
the senses bleed into each other. And because they are not sharpened, they tend to be ‘flat,’
that is lacking depth, and ‘fuzzy,’ where different object of perception are not clearly distinguished.
This sharpening and differentiating process
also works upon the deeper levels of the brain as well, which part of the brain is also ‘unfinished,’ in the sense
of being incompletely conditioned to its environment. The very nature of ‘ideas,’ such as they
are at this stage imagined, can be thought of as both flatter and fuzzier, lacking character and overlapping more.
Although, because idea formation also involves bleeding in from the senses, they are also more intense; one might say
more meaningful, especially where they involve the sensations of feeling.
Conditioning of the brain proceeds from the senses inward.
Although all levels experience conditioning at the same time, the process is fastest, and reaches ‘completion’
soonest, at the level of the primary sensory cortex, and proceeds more slowly the further along the path of sensation one
looks. (The process is never completely complete.) The deeper layers of the brain act
upon the sensory layers, sharpening and differentiating the image they perceive, and becoming sharpened differentiated, although
at a slower rate, in turn. Thus the prefrontal cortex, that part of the brain most distant from the sensory
inputs to the brain, is the last to mature. (The prefrontal cortex is also strongly modified by input from the motor cortex.)
However, this does not mean that its development is not affected, and often profoundly so, by earlier experience.
The interpretation of experiences in the world,
however, still depends on the previous experiences of the brain, and the conclusions the brain reached during its earlier
stages of development. During this stage, decisions are still being made, and the brain is still undergoing
changes in state. These decisions can be roughly characterized as a progressive relegating of increasing
portions of its environment to the ‘outside.’ That is, more and more elements of the world,
which were once considered a part of the identity, (and in a sense we will discuss in the next part, still remain so,) are
assigned a place outside that identity. This does not happen all at once, or evenly. Inanimate
objects which are close, but not too close, tend to be externalized quickest. This is because they occupy
a greater part of the mind’s attention, and yet are unresponsive to the mind’s manipulation. Their
image in the mind becomes fixed the quickest. Animate objects, intimate objects, and distant objects, take
longer. Thus, for instance, a mother, a stuffed animal, the space in a closet, all take longer to externalize,
because their image in the brain takes longer to fixate. Because of this, their image in what is increasingly
becoming an unconscious space, is also larger. Indeed, because of the development of an unconscious, the
result of the narrowing of attention and its increasing focusing on the environment, these objects acquire a special character,
and depth. This depth develops, oddly, as a result of inconsistency in the mind permitted, or perhaps caused,
or perhaps it causes, the development of the unconscious. The unconscious mind, still including these objects in its identity,
still believes it can affect them. Indeed, the unconscious mind is still involved in modulating the sensory cortex.
But the conscious mind, more conditioned by the environment, has externalized these objects. Thus,
the action of the unconscious mind on the external object is perceived by the conscious mind, and interpreted as the action
of that object. So, the stuffed animal may be perceived to talk.
In the third part, we will further detail the separation of the self from the world. In particular we will
discuss the externalization of that image of self, God.
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Mistakes Were Made
8:27 pm est
We all grow into the things we come to believe. What we believe
is the result of the journey of our mind throughout our life, from just after inception to where we are now. And
the things we believe, and how we think about those things, are entwined with our experiences in the world, experiences that
start even in the womb.
brain, the substrate of our mind and its beliefs, does not start out unformed, it does start out extraordinarily plastic and
malleable. This is necessary, because it must quickly adapt to one or another of the enormous variety of possible human cultures
it might be born into. This adaptation consists of countless changes, many irreversible, to the very structure
and functionality of the brain. Some of these changes are independent of culture, and, indeed are common
to all development. Other changes are specific to each person's culture and parenting.
is naturally variation, even among those changes in the brain which are most general and independent of culture. Each brain
is unique in the detail of its original formation, is unique in its earliest development before it gains experience through
interacting with the world, and unique in its interaction with that world. And the face of the world in
which each brain, each mind, finds itself, is unique to that mind.
And it is during this process of development that the mind decides for itself what is true and real, and what
is false, based on its experience, and based on what it already knows.
However, there are two possible sources of mistakes. In fact, mistakes originating from these sources are
inevitable, and even necessary, and, for the full development of the mind, must be overcome later in life.
The first of these mistakes originates from the process of mental development
itself. In particular, at the beginnings of development, the mind makes observations, and makes decisions
on these observations, without reference to any external world. In fact, in the beginning, the mind is
not aware that any such world exists, or even that it has an ‘exterior,’ until its sensory apparatus begin to
be conditioned by that world, and through that apparatus, the brain itself.
Caution should be used here with the idea of awareness. It is certainly not like the awareness we each now
have, one which has been conditioned by our experiences in the world. It is an awareness which matures,
continuously and gradually, but also goes through distinct stages, which are neither continuous nor gradual. The change from
each earlier stage to the next one may be regarded as a decision, based on conclusions reached by the mind in its earlier
stage. However, in this new, more ‘developed’ stage, the mind does not reason the same way
the mind did in its earlier, more ‘primitive’ stage. Thus, the reasons for any decision, and
the decision itself, are forgotten. (This process is reflected in the intellectual processes of the mature
mind. When a decision, or a conclusion is reached, often the assumptions and rationale and even the evidence
that went into reaching that decision are forgotten. The conclusion becomes the basis for further rationality,
and behavior, that is, the conclusion becomes an assumption. Consider, for instance, how much you remember about
when and why you first decided how you were going to walk for the rest of your life. Or the earlier decision, of how your
voice was going to sound. Or the later one, of how you were going to dress.
The reason this process results in mistakes is because the brain, the mind, at these earlier stages of development,
is perfectly rational. The decisions it makes, which alter the way it processes information, are the correct
ones needed for its further development. This implies that these earlier, more primitive ways of processing
information have their domain of validity. They are based on the evidence as perceived and interpreted by the undeveloped
brain. However, the more developed mind of the later stages rejects these processes as having any validity at all, because
it does not remember the occasions when it was valid. This is a mistake. Actually, it’s
the same mistake repeated at least several times, though with differing consequences, since each causes a different alteration,
and in general, actually, a different restriction, on the brain’s ability to process information.
We will go into two particular aspects of these mistakes. The
first considers the role of emotion in cognition. Only in the fully mature brain does rational thought
seem to completely separate from emotion, though emotion may still provide motivation. However, in
the earlier stages of development, emotional and intellectual processes were more thoroughly entwined, and in the most primitive
states inseparable. This implies that certain understandings of the early brain are not reachable by intellect
alone. In particular, the facts known to that brain, and the processes available to manipulate those facts, are inaccessible
without engaging the relevant emotions. This is not to say these facts and processes cannot be represented
in the brain with out involving the emotions. But it is to claim that the meaning of these facts cannot
be appreciated, and their proper processing cannot be accomplished. One can claim that these more primitively
understood facts and processes are not relevant to the larger world. I personally believe any claim to
justify ignorance, such as this one, needs to be substantiated.
second particular aspect we will go into is the role of logic in the functioning of the mind. We give the
Three Laws of Logic pride of place in our intellectual pantheon, and in the rationalities of our daily lives, and
do not often appreciate their limitations. Part of this, of course, is that we often ignore them in our
daily lives, for the reasons that the assumptions under which we live those lives generally do not bear close scrutiny. Yet,
rather than examining those assumptions, we pretend to logic, with the result that our thought and behavior is often incoherent.
How these inconsistent assumptions are formed, and some of the consequences of their inconsistency, will
be looked at more carefully in the next part.
early, pre-intellectual stages of development of the brain, the brain had an apperception of the entirety of its experience,
that is, of its entire world.
In the realm of the intellect, logic is both necessary and limiting.
Each branch of mathematics is developed, according to the rules of (some form of) logic, from a set of
consistent assumptions. These assumptions are different for each branch of mathematics. Each branch of
mathematics is, in at least an informal sort of way, complete, in itself. Generally, different sets of
assumptions are not consistent with each other, but by moving between different sets of assumptions, we can move between the
different branches of mathematics. Now we use mathematics to describe the world, but of necessity, we use
many different branches. This would imply that the universe cannot be described using one, or any, consistent
set of assumptions. Thus, if we insist that the universe must be consistent, we can never come to an understanding
of it. Each branch of mathematics, as it were, provides a different perspective on reality, a perspective
which is complete in itself, and to come to an understanding of the whole, we must transcend the limitations of logic.
However, this cannot be done if we are restricted to intellect. We can only understand each part at any time.
For our intellect to deal with any other part, it must relinquish its grasp on the first.
In the next part we will examine the necessary mistakes the world imposes upon the developing mind.
Some are general and culturally independent. Others vary according to culture and parentage.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
9:33 pm est
There is God, as God really is. And then there are the billions
of images that each of the billions of people in the world have of God. Since each of those people is
God, each of those images is a reflection of God. And each reflection is a true and faithful representation of God. Each
image is an image of God as God really is. But though they are each true, they are each contingent images,
each image contingent on the experience of the particular individual.
Each individual’s image of God comes from the mind of that individual, formed by the experience of that
individual, and ultimately from his deepest unconscious. Each image is a simplified
image, of course. And, since the mind is experienced in only the limited dimensions of the world, and since
God, and even the world itself as the world really is, which is God, are in greater dimensions, the image of God in the mind
is a simplified image of God, in reduced dimensions.
However, the unconscious is the individual’s inner self. So, each of those
images of God is an image of the individual’s own inner self. Each individual is what they imagine
their God to be. They are conscious agents of their God, who is their inner self.
Now the God of their imagination has two images in their mind, which are reflected one behind the other. One
is the conscious image of God, the image of God the individual describes and professes. Behind this image
is the other, their unconscious image of God.* It is this unconscious image of God which defines the actions
of the individual. It also shapes and limits the conscious image of God, and the conscious mind itself. In
particular, it limits the ability of the conscious mind reflect upon and examine the unconscious image itself.
The unconscious image of God is a higher dimensional image of God than
the conscious image. One reason is that the unconscious image is not limited by the constraints of logic
that tend to restrict the thinking of the conscious mind. Because of this, the conscious image of God will tend to be, in
some sense, logically consistent. The unconscious image of God, however, need not be, and indeed, cannot be logically consistent.
The desire for logical consistency by the conscious
mind may indeed usually be the most important barrier between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. However,
it is not the only barrier, and like the others, it can be overcome. Indeed, in some
ways consistency is often one of the easiest barriers to the understanding of the self and God to overcome. The
other barriers are tied in with the individual’s emotional experiences. Of these barriers, early
barriers to understanding will be contingent on the individual’s earliest experiences in the world. For
some individuals, some of these barriers may indeed be the most difficult. The later barriers to the understanding
of the self and God are essential barriers, common to all men.** They arise in the experiences of the mind
during its earliest development, before it interacts with the outer world.
Now the conscious image of God need not be consistent with the unconscious image, and indeed, most likely
will not be. When this is the case the individual’s actions will not consistent with their speech.
The individual will say one thing, and do another. However, this does not mean the individual will
perceive his actions to be inconsistent. In fact, the individual’s actions will likely be justified
in terms of what he says, no matter how inconsistent they may seem to others. Indeed, the greater inconsistency
will be more vigorously defended, since the greater the inconsistency, the deeper it must be based in the emotional unconscious
to be maintained. Reason and self reflection must be more strongly blocked, because the link which justifies
action with word is not rational, but ‘sub-rational.’ The very structure of his thought will be a reflection of
what he unconsciously believes God to be. That is, his thought will be a reflection of his unconscious
image of God.
His actions, then, not only reflect
what he unconsciously believes God to be, but are a realization of what he unconsciously believes God to be. He
is not merely an agent of God, but he is his God acting. Or, more precisely, he is his unconscious image
of God, acting, for that is what he believes his God to truly be. And in this he is correct. But, his unconscious
image of God consists of many contingent features of God. These contingent features overlay the deeper, essential features
of God, which are those features which are defined by those experiences which are shared by, which are common to, all men.
These contingent features, or characteristics of God, are peculiar to the individual and the details of
his growth and psychological development in the world. They are thus peculiar to his experiences in the
world. They are features defined by his experience of his earliest upbringing. These features are defined
by his experiences with his family, and his culture. These contingent features, these characters, develop into the religion
and the values he comes to espouse. Since the individual does not remember many of these experiences, the
features of his image of God defined by these experiences remain unconscious, and they are anchored by emotion in the unconscious.
They are the characteristics of his conscious thinking and personality.
Contradictions laid at this level, combined with later experiences, can result in any of a great variety of
life trajectories. No two persons’ experiences of development in the world are identical, and neither
are any of the lives that result. No two persons’ contingent experiences are the same. No two persons’ images
of God are identical. Indeed, even among essential experiences, there is some variation, and so some variation
in result. Thus, there is even variation between essential images of God, although the deeper we go, the
more alike the experiences become, the more universal the perceived characteristics of God.
The deeper into the unconscious we go, the deeper into God’s essential
self we go, and the less we are subject to contingent images of God, which are those reflected in the conscious and shallower
unconscious mind of the individual. In a sense, essential features of God are beneath the contingent features
of God. These essential features of God are those defined by the experiences of the mind before it interacts
with the world. Some contingent features may also be defined at this time. Some essential
features are also defined while the mind first interacts with the world, but before the mind is aware that it is interacting
with the world. And some contingent features are also defined by experiences at this stage of development.
So what are the barriers to the understanding of the self, and God?
As the mind develops, it realizes truths, truths
about itself, and truths about its world. Each of these truths is an experience, a profound experience
freighted with intense emotion. Each truth must be experienced in the development of the mind, and then
suppressed, so the mind can continue on to the next phase of its development. Each truth must be experienced.
The mind then makes the decision to move on, the decision itself forgotten.
Each of these truths, each of these- emotional experiences, is both a barrier, and the overcoming of that
barrier. And to overcome the last barrier is to know God, and to know the self, as It truly is.
I think it’s It. It’s been a while, and
is of course, not literal. A different analogy might be described more in terms of differentially habituated
networks, the deeper networks requiring increasing degrees of emotional involvement to activate. The appearance
from above is not the appearance from below.
**My current thinking is that the
only difference between the essential experiences of men and women, and thus that their essential experiences are otherwise
identical, is that men are alone in the void, while women experience the void within. However, there still remains the later,
sexually differentiated development of the brain, and thus the mind. Although there is significant overlap
in the distributions of mental physiology and psychology between the sexes, the means and variations of the distributions
are, in certain ways, different.
Friday, February 27, 2015
10:37 pm est
Why is the world so obdurate? Why is it so hard
to effect change?
6 years ago, we discussed the reason
why an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God might choose to be less so. http://www.truthabouttheone.com/2009.05.01_arch.html Here we will discuss the problem from a more- human view.
The conclusion is that we act and believe that we want a world of substance, and the more we can control reality,
the less substantial, and the less satisfying, it becomes.
We hunger for substance. We hunger for the ‘real,’ the ‘authentic,’
the ‘genuine.’ We work harder, and are willing to pay more, for something we believe is an
‘original,’ and not a copy, something ‘hand-made,’ and not off some assembly line. We
think the ‘authentic’ has more substance.
observe that we each start with a body. (Some would say as a body.) Our minds come encased, or perhaps entwined is
a better way to put it, in a body which comes with some serious limitations in space and time. Not only that, the body comes
with needs which must be fulfilled, some periodically, some daily, some moment to moment. These demands
of the body require the individual to act in certain ways in the world.
Because the body seems so small, and the world so big, the world does not seem very responsive to its actions.
Look how hard it is to do anything, especially some comparatively large and complicated project, building a house,
say: Plans must first be made, the resistances of the world, the problems it offers, anticipated.
Then material must be gathered. It must be worked. It must be placed.
It must be assembled, to yield the final result. Each step takes time and effort. Each
step must overcome the opposition of reality.
the more difficult it is to get things done, the more obdurate the world seems, the more real it seems to be.
The same goes for the other people in the world: The more one controls them, the less substantial
they become. The more independent they seem to be, the more real they seem.
But this is not enough. We also think things, we
believe things that make the world seem more ‘real,’ more ‘substantial.’
Most believe they are not God. Of these, some believe that there is
no God, and that the world is totally obdurate: That only by actual physical intervention, by physical action, can it be altered,
and that the mind, that belief, of itself, can have no effect on it. In a recent survey, 4/5ths of philosophers,
for instance, believe in some form of ‘non-skeptical realism,’ basically, that the world is as REAL as it can
be. Most philosophers also believe in some form of determinism, which is as rigid a universe as you can
get. All freedoms, all choices are, to them, to some degree, illusory.
There has been some criticism of philosophers, lately, as being somewhat conformist and narrow in their thinking.
They should be clawing at the edges on known reality, trying to find out what is behind the illusion. Pacing
back and forth, trying to figure out the nature of their cage and its philosophical implications. But this,
of course, would call into question the reality of their world.
what about the religious? They believe in a God, and often their God can do anything, which would seem
to detract from the substance and reality of the believer’s world. But do they not make their God
as great and powerful as possible, even impossibly so? Does not this aggrandizement of their God make them
relatively small and powerless in His world? And often He is an authoritarian God, who commands obedience
to often arbitrary and rigid rules, with draconian punishments. Clearly this sort of behavior from their
divine ‘Master’ lends weight and consequence to the worshipper’s actions, and makes their world seem more
‘real’ to them.
And then there are the Ignorant.
One can be highly skilled and knowledgeable in a narrow space, yet ignorant of the principles of the wider world beyond.
Since such ignorance makes it more difficult to operate effectively in that wider world, this adds to its substance.
This thesis has interesting social and political implications. The richer
the rich become, the easier it is for them to do things, particularly things close to themselves, like build ever larger and
more houses for themselves, and immerse themselves ever deeper in ever greater luxury. They want more,
and they get more of what they want. But does this satisfy them? We should expect not,
because the more money, the more power they accumulate, the less real, and the less satisfying, their world becomes to them.
They become increasingly isolated from the consequences of their acts. Further, the more power they have over other people,
the less ‘real’ these people would become. The rich would become increasingly lonely and alienated.
They would become increasingly lonely and alienated, and indeed increasingly isolated from the wider world.
And indeed in the wider world, as the people in it become less substantial, the wealthy feel is less moral weight against
treating the world, and the people in it, badly.
We might expect the wealthy to use their power to undo this, that is, that they would act to relinquish at
least some of their power, to make their experience of their world more satisfying to themselves.
But they are in denial. They must act to reduce their
power, but because they are in denial, because they must deny that the problem is they have too much power, they must seem
to themselves that they are augmenting their power, at the same time they are in reality destroying it. Thus
we would expect their accumulation of wealth to be increasingly through the manipulation of the economy, rather than through
the actual improving of it: To exploit and undermine the economy, rather than investing in it.
Of course, progress itself presents an interesting conundrum.
As the members of a society become more wealthy, the more they are able to effect and control their immediate environment.
Yet as society becomes more complicated, the less the members of that society become are able to effectively manipulate it.
That which they are able to control becomes more immediate, while beyond that the greater world increasingly escapes their
powers. But rather than becoming more real, that greater world becomes less real, as it increasingly escapes their attention.
The more we can manipulate the world, the less
substantial it appears. Of course, there is a happy medium. A person wants some control,
at least enough to gratify one’s needs and least the most important of one’s desires. To be
absolutely powerless is also horrible: Too much reality.
For that is who You are.
Whether or not You choose to believe that You are God,
the One God, that of course is your divine prerogative.
As for the reality, You are God, whether You want to be or not. So Welcome!
Here You will find some
answers to some questions You may have about Your divine nature, and the nature of Your creation.
If you are
satisfied with your
life, your faith,your
God, you are
But of course,
who am I to
is only God.
God is known by
Faith and belief comprise a very important part of our lives. A person's beliefs in
many ways define who they are -- how they see themselves, what they want out of life, and more.
On this web site
I'll offer a personal account of my own beliefs. I'll describe how my beliefs have changed my life in profound and
exciting ways, and how I think they might change the lives of others.
I'll also be sure to provide links to
my favorite sites as well as information about organizations that help strengthen or support my beliefs., or provide interesting
Thanks for visiting. Have a good day!
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